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Disgraced tax preparer Nevers sentenced to 7 years, ordered to pay back $6M

LAPLACE — Disgraced former St. John Parish businesswoman Shawanda Nevers’ misdeeds are starting to add up — now to the tune of an additional seven years in prison and more than $6 million in fines.

The former Louisiana tax return preparer was sentenced this week for filing fraudulent returns, according to Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

She had previously pleaded guilty in August to four counts of preparing fraudulent tax returns and faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison on each count, as well as monetary penalties.

Her sentencing was initially scheduled for Nov. 15 in front of U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan before being moved to Wednesday.

The 49-year-old Nevers, who also went by Shawanda Hawkins, Shawanda Bryant and Shawanda Johnson, operated 3LJ’s Café Services & Sports Bar and 3LJ’s Industrial Service Solutions in LaPlace. According to documents filed with the court, between 2011 and 2016 Nevers filed fraudulent income tax returns that included fake business losses, deductions and tax credits and sought refunds to which her clients were not entitled.

Despite a federal judge permanently enjoining her from preparing federal tax returns in 2014, authorities said Nevers continued to file fraudulent returns.

Judge Morgan also ordered Nevers to serve a year of supervised release and pay restitution to the IRS for $6,934,764 in losses that she caused.

She also was ordered to pay $128,900 to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust and $964 to the Social Security Administration.

The criminal sanctions are not new for Nevers, who in December 2016 was sentenced to a decade in jail, the result of tens of thousands of dollars in fraud perpetrated through her restaurant, according to the St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Judge J. Sterling Snowdy sentenced Nevers following her guilty plea to seven counts of issuing worthless checks.

Nevers was also sentenced to 12 years in prison in September 2016, the result of a conviction for stealing $20,000 from an older St. John the Baptist Parish resident.